Censorship Competition Heats Up

From The Wall Street Journal:

By now it is clear that wokeness is a contagious malady. Amazon.com made headlines in February when it suddenly delisted Ryan Anderson’s book “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” a thoughtful, humane and deeply researched investigation of a controverted subject of public debate.

As the publisher of that 2018 bestseller, I was taken aback by reports that Mr. Anderson’s book was unavailable at “the world’s largest bookstore.” At first, I wondered whether there was some mistake.

But no. It was a deliberate act of censorship. Moreover, like the earl of Strafford, Amazon’s motto was “Thorough.” They didn’t just stop selling the book. They pushed it into the digital oubliette, erasing all trace of it from the Amazon website. They did the same thing at their subsidiaries Audible, which sells audiobooks, and AbeBooks, which sells secondhand books.

Now it turns out that Bookshop.org, which bills itself a scrappy alternative to the Bezos Behemoth, is up to the same game. A couple of weeks ago, a reader alerted us that Mr. Anderson’s book had gone missing from the Bookshop.org website.

The organization never responded to our queries. But on Friday we learned from our distributor that Bookshop had deep-sixed the book. “We did remove this title based on our policies,” Bookshop wrote to our distributor—without, however, explaining what those “policies” might be. “We had multiple complaints and concerns from customers, affiliates, and employees about the title.”

Perhaps other customers, affiliates and employees expressed “complaints and concerns” about Heather Mac Donald’s “The War on Cops,” another Encounter bestseller. That book has also been disappeared from the Bookshop website.

. . . .

I couldn’t help but note that at least one of my own books, “Tenured Radicals,” is missing in action there. Apparently there were no “complaints and concerns” about Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” however. That book is available in a variety of editions, as are the anti-Semitic lucubrations of Louis Farrakhan and many other similarly unedifying effusions.

Underdogs make for good copy, so it was no surprise that Bookshop was hailed as a brave upstart, a feisty David to the Goliath of Amazon. “Bookshop.org hopes to play Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire,” ran the headline of a valentine in the Chicago Tribune.

Bookshop turns out to be little more than another minion for the Emperor of Wokeness. For the past couple of weeks, the first item advertised on its home page is that bible of antiwhite woke sermonizing, “How to Be an Anti-Racist.” Many readers, I’d wager, would have “complaints and concerns” about that screed. But that doesn’t mean that Bookshop should stop selling it. Nor would it, regardless of how many complained.

The move to squash Mr. Anderson’s book is the vanguard of a larger effort to silence debate and impose ideological conformity on any contentious issue in which the commissars of woke culture have made an investment. It has nothing to do with principle and everything to do with power.

Amazon and now Bookshop have sided firmly with the bullies. Doubtless there will be more interdictions, delistings and suppressions. They can do it, so they will do it.

One of the more tiresome canards from the courtiers is that entities like Amazon and Bookshop are private companies and therefore that they can choose to sell, or not sell, whatever they want.

This is true, but also irrelevant. What we are witnessing are not the prerogatives of the free market but the clashings of a culture war. Those clashings may adopt, as camouflage, the rhetoric of free enterprise, but their end is control and obliteration of opposing points of view.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (PG apologizes for the paywall, but hasn’t figured out a way around it.)

Lest any visitors to TPV should have any doubts, PG is concerned about viewpoint discrimination on the part of Amazon.

He acknowledges that, as a private business, Amazon has the right to choose what products it will and will not sell, but this decision drops the company into the middle of a political controversy that it needn’t have joined.

Amazon is a very large target for those across the political spectrum and a serious antitrust investigation of the company’s activities and policies could substantially harm its business.

More than one giant US company has been hamstrung and permanently impaired by a lengthy antitrust probe. Classic examples are AT&T, Kodak and Standard Oil.

Most recently, Microsoft was involved in a lengthy antitrust suit.

Bill Gates later said that the antitrust suit prevented Microsoft from completing development on Windows Mobile, its cell phone operating system (which left the field open to Apple and Android). Apple’s annual revenue is now about twice as large as Microsoft’s.

Gates also cited the stress of the antitrust suit as a contributing factor in his decision to step down from the leadership of Microsoft in 2000. PG is not alone in believing that Microsoft has not been the same company since Gates left.

There has been a growing sentiment in the United States that the big technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook have become too large and powerful.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had what was widely regarded as a poor showing in his videoconference testimony before the House Antitrust Committee last summer. He recently declined an invitation to testify before a Senate committee investigating “The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America.”

PG notes that TPV is not a political blog and requests that comments not devolve into political name-calling. He is concerned about Amazon’s future primarily because it is the only significant marketplace where indie authors can publish their books on an equal basis with books from traditional publishers and Amazon provides a very large portion of the royalties that indie authors earn from their books.

39 thoughts on “Censorship Competition Heats Up”

  1. The IBM anti-trust case was big headache for IBM – it likely influenced them to take a more open approach to the PC, and not sue all the cloners.

    I’d say Microsoft is a better company after anti-trust from a consumer point of view, but they’re certainly not as dominant.

    • Look again.

      They’re still as dominant on PCs (89%–the year of desktop Linux never came.)
      And Office suites.
      And servers.
      And network management.
      They’ve added cloud services.
      Office presentation displays.
      Artist Easel PCs.
      Remote work and education: when the pandemic hit, they had been ramping up MS TEAMS for a couple years. They were first in line to sell the system to companies and school districts.
      HoloLens/Mixed reality. This one just got them a $22B DOD contract for “Iron Man” helmets at a time would be competitors have nothing in AR.
      Gaming. Bigger than Windows, actually. And getting bigger. GAMEPASS is a steamroller.
      And subscriptions. Oh, yes. That one is a homerun. They bet big on Office subscriptions and won big.
      Next up: healthcare.

      MS likes it that people think they’re weaker. Makes their job easier.
      They didn’t get weaker, they got sneakier.
      Just ask Amazon if MS is weak.

      • Let’s look on the flip side:
        – Microsoft is not a major factor in browsers (I like Edge, but it’s my second or third most used browser) – Chrome is clearly #1 (especially if you include Chromium-based browsers like Brave and Edge. Oh, and I’ve heard accusations that Google plays Microsoft-style games to help Chrome).
        – Microsoft is even less of a factor in phones (heck, the Microsoft Surface phones run Android)
        – I highly doubt Microsoft is dominant in servers (maybe business servers, but not internet servers. Linux is dominant. Heck, Microsoft Windows can now run Linux, so Windows can better support containers such as Docker)
        – Microsoft Azure is clearly second to AWS.

        • I said AWS has more customers.
          But Azure customers pay for more high end services, so MS makes as much net or more.
          They’re cherry picking.
          The same with servers; MS makes tons of money off SHAREPOINT and SQL SERVER. Servers aren’t just about holding files and web traffic. There’s also productivity servers and MS owns that market along with Oracle and Salesforce.

          See, too many people judge “domination” solely by market share, as if every customer were equally important. They’re not. PALM learned that the hard way, going belly up defending their low end PDA market share. Numbers only matter if they have significant money attached. Empty numbers didn’t keep them afloat.

          Apple knows better; if raw numbers mattered, they would’ve sent the Mac off to swim with the Newton and the fishes. But if your customers see enough value to pay big, niches can be more profitable and bring in big bucks.

          Money matters. If nothing else it funds the development of things like Hololens and the purchase of entire businesses like MINECRAFT. It also lets you screw up and shrug it off. MS guessed wrong on Nokia and lost a few months worth of money. Lotus guessed wrong on Windows vs OS/S and they died.

          So, how much money do LINUX vendors make, combined?
          (FORTUNE reported $3.9B in 2019. Spread over what dozens, hundreds of companies? Good money. But a bad month at MS.)
          How many $10B deals like JEDI do LINUX players have?
          And, btw, why *do* you think MS supports Linux installs on Azure virtual machines? Maybe to help customers migrate from standalone Linux boxes to the cloud?
          Supporting LINUX and even doing an unofficial MS LINUX distro is a sign of strength. “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable.”

          Finally, I suppose you haven’t noticed all the MS EDGE features getting rolled into Chromium, right? Features that show up first and work bestbon Edge.
          Ever hear of “embrace, extend, extinguish?”
          Unfortunately Netscape is no longer around to explain how that works out.

          Again, MS hasn’t gotten weaker; they’ve gotten sneakier.

          • Oh, and Windows desktop is a $9B a year business twice all of LINUX, desktop and server.
            The term to remember is the “tyranny of the installed base”. It’s why ew Windows versions take forever to be adopted but it’s also why Windows users remain Windows users.

            The same applies to Kindle eReaders, btw.
            The cost of change is a big barrier for cometitors.

  2. I agree the Amazon stepped into a fight they have no business being in, particularly because as a company that owes much if not most of its success to “flyover country” they have aligned themselves with the coastal urban elites that despise them and wish them ill.

    Time will tell how that plays out.

    However, with Microsoft, time has spoken and the verdict runs counter to the dated perception of the company. (Sorry, PG.)

    A full portrait of modern MS would run exceedingly long (They currently operate over 16 multi-billion dollar product lines across enterprise, government, and consumer; software, hardware, and services.) but this 2019 encapsulates the overall picture.


    A few points to consider:

    1- MS is big, not just in size but in reach (global) and profitability. No, they don’t bring in as much cash as Apple–“only” $130B on hand instead of $195B– but where Apple’s cash stash mostly gathers interest because their COO turned CEO has no idea for new business lines, MS knows exactly how to put the money to use. Remember when everybody knocked the MS CEO for lack of vision? And yes, the antitrust mess hampered them, but they’ve left it behind and in oroper Nietzchean fashion are now stronger than ever and probably stronger than if tbey hadn’t gone through it. All those giant product lines? Windows is barely 10% of tgeir revenue and gaming is bigger. And about to grow even bigger.

    2- MS is *growing* in both size (depending on the week its valuation is around $2Trillion) and scope. This week they announced they are buying NUANCE. Probably known around here for their consumer products–Dragon Dictate and OmniScan–for $20B. All cash. No accounting tricks with stock or options. Some serious head scratching went on until MS explained: NUANCE has been expanding their inhouse “AI” and voice tech into a very specific domain: HealthCare. And MS is going to add it to their arsenal of cloud-based enterprise services under AZURE (which is neck and neck in revenue and profitability with AMAZON’S AWS, well ahead of Gogle, IBM, ORACLE, and SALESFORCE). NUANCE’s footprint in healthcare is big but not terrible profitable; they’re not rich enough to expand their cloud infrastructure fast enough to capture all the business they could. MS does. Perfect match. Been to a doctor’s office lately? Noticed how even the most digitally up to date offices and hospitals still have enormous paper archives? It is expensive and hideously hard to digitize all those examples of doctor’s handwriting and medical jargon. Big bucks to bevmade and MS is getting the poleposition. Ahead of Amazon who are also looking to expand into health care.

    3- Try this: I recently discovered a brand new economics term: RUNDLE. Short for Revenue bUNDLE. The concept is simplicity itself: combine a grabbag of (somewhat) related products/services into a single subscription for (a lot) less than sum of the individual parts would go for. Consumers can find enough value in different components depending on which they use and how much. Amazon has a rundle: PRIME. 200Million subscribers. The source of their power. Most sign up for the shipping but lately the video and music are draws on their own. MS has two rundles, each bringing in Prime levels of revenue. They have OFFICE 365, recently renamed Microsoft365 serving the enterprise market with over 200M subscribers as of 2020, 40M of which are consumers. On the pure consumer side they have GAMEPASS which bundles hundreds of top quality PC and XBOX games, online game streaming and (for now) three free months of DISCORD the popular and growing consumer-focused communication platform. Which they are in talks to buy for $10B. It currently has around 20M subscribers paying $10-15 a month. That one has enormous growth potential on the streaming side since it can bring state of the art games to Android, PCs, and *TVs* via browser. And yes, Amazon is testing their own game streaming service, called LUNA. (Notice a pattern?)

    If it seems MS is spending money like a drunken sailor it’s because they are and because they can. Last fall they bought BETHESDA SOFTWORKS one of the top PC/console companies with 14 separate studios and got ownership of dozens of top selling franchises bringing in billions. And they’re all going to the GAMEPASS. That cost $7.5B or about three years of SONY profits. That is half what MS earned *net* in the first three months of this year. Add in $20B for NUANCE, $10B for Discord if they seal that one. Other deals are reportedly coming to fortify both their subscription rundles. They might spend $40-50B by year’s end and still grow their cash stash by $10B.

    Lately, everywhere Amazon looks to expand, they run into Microsoft already there.

    AWS has the most customers of any cloud service provider but their customer base skews towards basic services–low margin–so they’ve been working to add capabilities and grow “the stack” to capture more revenue. But MS started out with a full stack that they are growing constantly. They have less customers but they get more from each. Revenue wise, they’re neck and neck.

    The DOD put out for bids a $10B cloud computing contract. Amazon bid. Oracke. Google. Naturally MS won. They appealed. They sued. MS still has the contract and the inside track for followups and other Federal cloud computing deals. And simikar deals the world over.

    LUNA looks to be really good game streaming tech but it hardly has any games to offer consumers. Amazon has been spending millions to develop their own games (to no good result yet) but MS already has hundreds of games and is spending billions to grow their catalog with mire and newer ones. Their goal is to release one inhouse premium game each month. Still two years away but they’re currently doing fine as is with partnerships. Google has a similar offering, STADIA, but they just shut down their inhouse studios, no chance to compete with the MS catalog. They’re hoping game studios will license the tech, just like Amazon. My guess is tbey’ll sell the tech to Sony, Nintendo or their chinese buddies.

    Amazon is working on a network of low orbit satellites to offer broadband internet service, Project Kuiper. They haven’t launched one. Neither has MS. But MS signed a deal with STARLINK who have over 2000 satellutes and are adding hundreds each month. No need to build and launch satellites. The deal will let them base satellite datacenters in small cities and towns globally.

    Finally, Amazon is under attack by Seattle’s politicians who keep trying to tax them by headcount so they queried the staff to see who might volunteer to move to other cities and suburbs in tbe region. The overwhelming choice and new destination for any Amazon expansion in the region? Redmond, of course. Home to Microsoft for 45 years.

    So yes, Amazon getting into the deplatforming game and adding that enmity on top of Sanders and company trying to break them up, Congress calling them up and the other tech media outfits monthly to explain themselves amid calls to regulate them into public utilities is not a terribly wise move at a time their every growth move into high margin business finds the same competidor already there and drama free. And because they are moving into what are effectively virgin markets MS has zero antitrust risk for now and probably the rest of the decade. And hardly anybody notices because they gave them up for dead years ago.

    • I suspect Amazon might be trying to get in on the bargain struck between most of the rest of corporate America and the woke left–“We’ll back you to the hilt on social issues, and you won’t do anything that might actually affect our bottom line.

      • The guillotine they left in front of Bezos’ NYC mansion might have something to do with it. Problem is, the other side isn’t toothless and is taking names.

        The best answer to tribal fights is to stay out of them.
        As MLB is about to discover.

  3. This WOULDN’T have been a huge problem – after all, a company can use itself to support a particular point of view, or mission, if that seems a more appropriate term.
    What they CANNOT do (legally – they can and are, in fact) is to collude with other companies/entities to lock out competition. That’s the heart and soul of antitrust legislation.

    But, they have done so, by using interlocking entities to:
    – Cancel bank accounts, merchant card servicing, and use of common money transfer mechanisms – no recourse, no valid reasons.
    – Force/persuade (with a HEAVY use of “you wouldn’t want anything to happen to your company, would you?” SUGGESTION) other companies to refuse to deal with the soon-to-be-isolated company.
    – Organize the NGO/Nonprofit “completely unconnected and independent” organization to picket, vandalize, threaten customers, assault, and otherwise discourage/prevent consumers from interacting with those disapproved companies.
    – Feed press releases/full stories (true or false, it makes no difference) to the mainstream media. It’s just coincidental and completely AMAZING how closely the completely-NOT-coordinated stories match each other, right down to the buzzwords and phrases they use.

    ALL of the above are RICO violations – but, they will never be prosecuted as such. The DOJ is too busy investigating REALLY IMPORTANT activities, such as where their opponents are getting their money, life histories of the donors, tweet activity of kids whose parents are dissidents – the lists go on.
    Am I bitter?
    But, mostly because this is not the America that I knew, where rights were for ALL, even for political or social opponents. It’s hard to see the Hard-Stalinist Left Turn.

    • This is a rather… unorthodox view of antitrust law. Which has at least two cores in addition to the one identified; which continues to evolve, and there are signs that the Chicago School “the only thing that matters is the ultimate consumer price” meme is losing ground, especially when price is artificially depressed to restrict choice and/or innovation (that is, something akin to the “predatory pricing” theory so widely decried as “doesn’t exist” among neoclassical heterodox economists); and is not the only relevant legal framework here. There’s always good old-fashioned “unfair competition”!

      I also question the characterization of those unfair trade practices as RICO violations. Antitrust and unfair competition are not RICO predicate offenses, and neither are the particular examples cited without a lot more (for the entire list, see 18 U.S.C. § 1861(1)); and establishing the RICO enterprise as distinct from the RICO defendant can and will be difficult. (It certainly is regarding debt collectors — even the “gone legit Family businesses” — and shady finance companies, and my name is on both the winning and losing ends in some of the touchstone cases with further discussions of facts hiding behind various confidentiality requirements.)

      Last, rather reluctantly, in response to a counterfactual ad hominem attack (verging on Stalinism, ironically enough) on people not here to defend themselves: I know many of the senior antitrust attorneys at both the DoJ and FTC. None of them have any sympathy for any “hard-Stalinist left turn.” If anything, the problem is that, especially at the FTC, their pro-consumer and broad-conception-of-antitrust impulses have been reined in by the Wall Street neoclassical/neoconservative domination of the DoJ political appointees and Federal Trade Commission since the late 1980s, when Reagan and Bush succeeded in stacking them with hardcore Coolidgite Republicans and not-quite-Dixiecrat Democrats (and as a senior protocol official in DC at the time, I had at least passing familiarity with them). The majority of them are moderates; that may look slightly left to those on the far right who won’t see the difference. It’s a problem I struggle with all the time from the anti-Stalinist left (that is, the left of Orwell and Keynes and Galbraith); it’s utterly unfair to paint a certain Senator from Utah with the same brush as a certain Congresscritter from Georgia, however tempting it is to blame the one for having “friends” like the other.

      • C.E., I shall not dispute your opinions on the law, or the workings of the FTC.

        However, you seem to characterize Linda as being on the “far right.” Not so, so far as I have ever been able to tell – she is more of a libertarian (note the small “l”).

        I am coming to the opinion that the standard should be that any business should be required to provide goods and/or services that are a) legal (in the wider sense of “not subject to criminal or civil penalties), and b) commodities. Unless the business can show that doing so would result in a direct business loss.

        One can argue that a publisher, even for what little creative work that trad pub does these days, is not a provider of commodity goods and/or services. However, a distributor is such a provider. So are payment processors.

        On the last – well, perhaps. Both of those politicians are taking actions and making statements that further the same agenda, but perhaps a certain Senator from Utah is just a useful idiot, not a co-conspirator. I tend to not care about the distinction, myself.

        • I did not characterize the views of the poster, except in that the poster identified The Enemy of All That Is Right and Good as “Hard-Stalinist Left.” Whether self-identifying as “libertarian” or “conservative” or “right,” that sort of language — the right-of-center’s equivalent of Godwin’s Law — reflects a right-wing viewpoint without regard to nuances. That’s not to say that nuances don’t exist; it’s only to say that they don’t exist in the post I responded to.

          • Mmm. Noting that PG does not run a political blog here, I shall gently suggest that you do some reading on the Holodomor, and devote some thought to the parallels between the Kulaks and those being systematically denied the means to earn a living in these times.

            Now, I shall readily admit that long term abuse in the “rehabilitation” camps and involuntary commitment to “psychiatric hospitals” are only policy proposals on the Left wing – so far…

            • This is hysterically and presumably unintentionally funny, and silently reasons that any familiarity with details of Soviet era governance forces the conclusion that it’s unique to a particular ideology (cf. Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Diary of the Rose,” which very nicely inverts the memes of psikhushkas and invokes the converse case of Brodsky). My initial point stands: Only by redefining “antitrust” to mean something different than those who practice in the field understand it can one get within reach of “only hard-left Stalinists would apply antitrust here.” It’s not about left/right ideology, and if after reading Homage to Catalonia and/or “My Country Right or Left” (by the same author, who… knew Stalinism from the scar on his throat) one still believes that there’s no hope of conversation, let alone regarding basic job knowledge of my first profession.

              You, sirrah, owe me a know keyboard due to explosive coffee snort.

          • I referenced that term solely to differentiate that hard-core bunch, who would cheerfully jettison the entire Constitution for their ability to rule all facets of life, from the more sensible Left, who recognize that the Constitution’s major advantage is that – when followed – reigns in a heavyhanded government.
            Most on the Left haven’t that degree of dedication, nor the commitment to ideology. For many (as is also true on the Right), they parrot the opinions of their peer group.
            I agree, my use of that term could easily be construed as extreme.
            I used to refer to myself as Conservative. I’ve come to agree that libertarian (small l) is a better description. Not a fanatic, but inclined towards insisting that government should keep their hands off most parts of life.
            In general, the actual Free Market (which does NOT include those corporations that suck at the government teat) will outperform the stodgy and ossified bureaucracy.
            My beliefs are heavily influenced by some truly bad experiences with bureaucracies that skewed Left.

  4. This blog has turned full-on right wing propaganda. Do you have to post about cancel culture every single day just because Fox news won’t stop talking about it?

    • Is there some reason you can’t engage with the topic honestly, as something that should interest content creators? You can easily argue a reverse viewpoint if you think it’s more salient, or you could attempt a thought exercise–‘at what point should this be alarming, if ever, and why.’

      Honest discussion of difficult and contentious topics is useful to all participants. Namecalling adds no light, only noise.

    • You do know, don’t you, that Fox News is now owned by Disney and has gone a long way to the left itself?

      No? Then maybe you should cure your own ignorance before lecturing other people about theirs.

      (Disclosure: I’m Canadian, and Fox News is not part of my cable package. I have never once watched the channel, though I have seen occasional clips on YouTube when people linked to them for this or that reason.)

      • Backup for this, please. Everything I can find explicitly says Fox News is NOT included in the Disney deal.

        • My bad. Fox News did have a recent housecleaning in the executive suite, and a lot of conservative management types were let go, with a noticeable influence (I am told by media-watchers) on the on-air product. I was told at the time that it was instigated by Disney; evidently that information was incorrect.

    • If you’re going to discuss FOXNEWS you need to start by defining whether you are talking about the FOXNEWS channel, the paid streaming service, or the Fox News website.

      Me, I can’t speak to the TV channel since the local cable service and Satellite Video distributors block it. Not that right wing screaming heads interest me any more than the screaming leftwingers at CNN and MSNBC. The streaming service is heavily documentary based, no SF, so no interest either. 😉

      Now, the website is a different creature. If you want, you can skip the political section.
      Behind it is are excellent science, tech, and business sections. Second only to places like SCIENCE NEWS, but faster reporting. Comes in handy to know what is going on outside the blue/red war.

      Also, because Fox News is tied to Newscorp in Australia and the UK, they have pretty good international coverage.

      There is more to life and the news world than politics and screaming heads.
      And good information can be found in all sorts of places.
      On occasion even NBC coughs up a good nugget so it’s worth skimming. Less than Fox but more than CNN.

    • Cancel culture affect writers (the targeted audience for this blog) in many ways, great, small, and everything in between. Thus a very appropriate issue to keep tabs on for The Passive Voice.

      Along with all people that are seeking to have a voice in the culture. Whatever their “qualifications” as an unheard minority. (One of the groups in the current BLM controversy is going to come out on top – and the other will find themselves suddenly without a voice.)

      • It can also impact what topics and scenarios writers feel comfortable addressing.
        I expect a lot of SF&F fiction will be *explicitly* presented as parallel world narratives. With fingers and toes crossed.

    • Same here – my husband may put on the evening news (he generally picks the channel with the best-looking female newscaster – and before you say “Aha!”, I should note that he voted for Biden – AND Hillary.
      I’m not sure whether you’re making a point about Fox News, or suggesting that there is NO cancellation by corporations?
      I do question the idea that politically-motivated cancellations aren’t a serious concern. It’s not just that a corporation might choose not to carry a controversial product. But, when that extends to actively agitating to get the opposition kicked off their web provider’s platform, get credit card companies to cancel their merchant agreements, and banks to close their accounts.
      Understand, I realize that all of the above would not be a problem, should the cancelled entity be engaging in an actual crime. But, that has not been the case. In almost every case, the only offense the entity/person committed was to oppose some aspect of Leftist Dogma (for example, that a man who decides he is ‘really’ a woman is, and questioning that is EXACTLY like killing trans people).
      Saying or writing the equivalent of “you’re full of it” is not a hate crime.

  5. The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill.

    — Robert Anton Wilson

    Reading through the thread, after getting a taste of Real people out in the world — while standing in line last Friday to get my J&J vaccination — who have no clue what is being discussed here, I can see the rival gangs of shamans.

    Stop for a moment and marvel at how far out on the edge of the Real most of the people here are.

    Look at all of the facets illuminated by each post. Understand that each is describing part of a whole. Embrace all of those facets as being True to understand the shape of what you are describing.

    Try to understand how amazing this one moment is, and what you are seeing.

    I’m either having an epiphany here or it’s just the J&J vaccine causing side effects.


    • Unless you have HIT you have nothing to fear:

      So your assessment is fine: yes, different people see different aspects of the world.
      (The blind men and the elephant. Plato’s shadows on the cave wall.)
      The issues arise when the different tribes declare their view, concerns, grievances the only acceptable position and decline to consider the other tribe’s views, concerns, and grievances.

      Adopting absolutist positions and refusing to discuss is not helpful and suggests a lack of supporting evidence. Or fear of being in the wrong.

      We are always in need of more information from all sides, not less.

    • What an amazing thought!
      I do think that the distancing enforced this last year has negatively affected people – their congeniality, willingness to socialize with others who don’t share all viewpoints, and their over-reliance on social media and canned ‘news’.
      It will be interesting to see whether this climate improves when we can all get out and around, smiling faces exposed, and once again venture into the world larger than our living quarters.

  6. PG now realizes that when he wrote “TPV is not a political blog” as part of his commentary to regarding the OP, that should have warned him that he was about to spark a politically-related dispute in the comments.

    Although some of the comments have been very good, the general tone of the statement/rebuttal exchanges have wandered into an unfortunate pattern of point/counterpoint than insult/counter insult that characterizes way, way too much online dialogue these days. (In PG’s peace-loving personal opinion).

    Therefore, PG is going to shut off comments to this post. He’s not going to ban anyone who posted comments to the OP from commenting in the future, but does reserve that right if he sees an individual going too far over the line or consistently heading into controversial language where PG doesn’t think it’s warranted.

    Again, PG accepts responsibility for inadvertently starting the string of commentary with an unwise OP.

Comments are closed.